Addicted to Sugar? Here’s What It Does to Your Body

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Most of us generally accept that sugar isn’t the healthiest. Despite how sweet and delicious sugary snacks and treats can be, avoiding them is the best practice for ensuring a healthier and happier you in the long run. One study from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, warns, “Sugary beverages represent a major global threat to the health of all populations.” The study published in Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism (2012) examines the multiple chronic diseases associated with sugar, including obesity and diabetes.

We know that sugar causes weight gain — the results of eating too much sugar are clear to see when we look in the mirror. However, sugar causes a wide variety of internal physiological changes, which happen simultaneously in the body. These changes can be potentially life threatening. A study published last October in Obesity (2015) found significant health improvements in children who cut sugar and fructose from their diets. 

A 2015 University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) study found that of the 43 participants between the ages of nine and 18, 4.3 percent showed a decrease in blood pressure, 12.5 percent had decreased LDL cholesterol levels, and 53 percent of the participants experienced a decrease in fasting insulin levels, according to a UCSF article on the research. Some studies suggest that sugar may be as unhealthy, and as addictive, as cigarettes. 

Let’s take a look at what your next sugar binge can do to your body.

Sugar and cocaine cause similar neurological reactions. Sugar, just like cocaine, induces a flood of dopamine and serotonin to your brain. This is one reason why sugar is so addictive.

Sugar can put you at risk for obesity. Sugar has been the target of several studies on obesity. A study published in the journal Obesity (2015) found that cutting sugar from your diet may significantly reduce several metabolic diseases, such as obesity and diabetes, in 10 days.

Sugar boosts insulin, then causes a crash. Insulin will rush from your pancreas and seek out excess glucose from sugar binging. Once the insulin has depleted the excess glucose, your body will then crash after the well-known “sugar rush” is over.

Sugar can make you tired. If you’re a big fan of sugar and you also feel tired on a daily basis, then you may be binging on sugar without realizing it. Many people may not really understand how much sugar is too much. A good rule of thumb is to avoid all sugar, except natural sugars found in fruit and other nutritious food.

Sugar may also be messing with your cravings. If you are always hungry, thirsty, or constantly craving more sugar, you may want to take a good, hard look at how much sugar you are actually consuming.

unhealthy white sugar conceptSugar binges increase blood sugar levels. When your body no longer responds normally to insulin, in instances of obesity, your blood sugar may significantly increase. This could put you at serious risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Excess sugar pumping through your body can damage vital organs. High levels of sugar in the blood slow down circulation and causes your body’s organs and arteries to work harder than they should. This could create damage to those vital organs and arteries.

Sugar may be one of the most unhealthy substances for the human body. If you are a fan of sugar, it might be time to look into alternative sources to appease your sweet tooth. Even though there are still no FDA recommended daily values for sugar, you can take action by reading nutrition labels more closely and doing a few Web searches on the food you consume. Enjoying fruit is a wonderful, all-natural alternative to getting your sugar fix.   

Do you binge on sugar?

—Stephen Seifert

Stephen Seifert is a writer, professor, adventurer and a health & fitness guru. His flair for travel and outdoor adventure allows him to enjoy culture and traditions different than his own. A healthy diet, routine fitness and constant mental development is the cornerstone to Stephen’s life.

Sources:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1043276012001191
https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2015/10/136676/obese-childrens-health-rapidly-improves-sugar-reduction-unrelated-calories
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/oby.21371/abstract

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